I'm not going in", said my Buyer client as I unlocked the door to a beautiful home."
"Why?," I asked.
"Because I don't like how it smells," she answered. What IS that smell?"
As it turned out, the smell was the scent of ethnic cooking. Personally, I thought it smelled appetizing, but my Buyer that day did not, and so, the Seller of that particular house did not have the opportunity to get an offer from my Buyer.
And you can imagine that if the house smells of unchanged kitty litter, doggy odors, or cigarettes, the Buyer is not going to have a favorable impression.
Certain odors could signal a problem. Certainly, the smell of leaking gas is likely to alarm Buyers (as it should the homeowner). A musty smell may indicate that there is a moisture problem under the foundation of a pier and beam home or moisture in a wall. If these odors are present, they should be investigated and the underlying problem corrected before the house is put on the market.
Strive for a neutral smell, but something that is commonly considered to be a "good" smell. The clean smell of Murphy's Oil Soap appeals to many people. The smell of baking bread appeals to most people and can be achieved by heating a packet of yeast in the oven. Commercial air fresheners or scented candles can help mask unpleasant smells but be careful because Buyers may wonder what is being covered up as well as they may not like the strong smell.
Give a careful "sniff test" to your house before people come through. It is easy to get used to certain smells in your own home, so walk though the house after you have been outside and ask your Realtor or a trusted friend for an honest opinion.
Correcting an unfavorable smell is often one of the easiest and cheapest fixes you can make and can help you sell faster and for a better price.
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